Preferences towards identity-first versus person-first language regarding disability

By University of Western Australia

The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Telethon Kids Institute are conducting a study into people living with disabilities preference regarding identity-first versus person-first language.

What is the project about?

Many people are unsure about what language they should use when referring to people with disability. We aim to understand language preferences, especially for identity-first language (such as saying ‘disabled people’ or ‘autistic person’) compared to person-first language (such as saying ‘people with disabilities’ or ‘person with autism’).

What does participation involve?

We are looking for people aged 16 or older to complete a survey. It will take around 20 minutes to complete. Participation is voluntary. You can stop the survey at any time without giving a reason or having a consequence. The survey is anonymous and so it will not be possible to identify anyone, or remove any data, once it has been submitted. If you are aged 16-17 years, please ask your parent/guardian for permission to do the survey.

Your privacy

All data will be kept in a non-identifiable format, using password-protected computers and servers at the Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University for a minimum of seven years and until the youngest participant turns 25 (9 years if participants are aged 16). Email addresses received for the purpose of the prize draws or other purposes will not be kept with the survey data, and will only be accessible to the members of the research team for the purposes specified. A copy of this information sheet can be downloaded here.


There may be no direct benefit to you from participating in this research, but we hope the results will help us understand people’s preferences towards using identity-first versus person-first language. For participating, you may choose to enter a draw to win one of ten $50 prizes. You will need to supply an email address, as winners will be notified by email, and if you are a winner, provide notification of bank transfer details to receive the prize.


We do not expect that there will be any risks associated with taking part in this study. If any questions make you uncomfortable, you can skip them or close the survey. If you would like to speak to someone from a support helpline, a list of numbers appears at the end of the survey, and also as a downloadable document here. You can also contact your mental health service provider or doctor.


If you are interested in participating:


More information can be found here.

(This study has been approved by the UWA Human Research Ethics Committee (2020/ET000259))